Monday, November 19, 2018

Blogging and life

As you can see, the blogging that I was doing every week hasn’t been happening for the last little while. It has been a challenge for me to think of the various topics and get the words down on paper. Yes, life has decided to get in the way of me doing a lot of the writing that I like doing, and now to see if I can get back to doing the writing that I love.

Blogging is something that I really enjoy doing but when life gets busy, and it is a challenge to get thoughts down on paper that is something that I need to think about. I have found that the last few months it has been a challenge for me to get thoughts out of my head and into the various blog posts. I hope that once life slows down just a little bit, I will be able to get back to writing like I have been writing.

I have a list of ideas that I would like to write about, so now I just need to find the focus where I can sit and get all the different ideas written up. Sure, I know that I have been able to continue to blog at least once each month, and I should be happy with that. Now I am going to try and see if I can get back to writing a little more. I don’t think I will be seeing a big improvement in November, but I hope that once 2019 rolls around that I will be able to get back to seeing the blog a little more active.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hotel experiences

For a lot of people, staying at a hotel is a pleasure event and normally is part of a vacation away from home. For me, I have stayed in a number of hotels both for pleasure and also for work as I have done quite a bit of travelling for work.

A hotel experience can really have a negative or positive experience, and lately I am finding that a number of hotels are resulting in a negative experience, which isn’t good. I recently was staying at a hotel for work and had asked for no feather in the room. This is a simple request, or so I thought because it means that housekeeping has a note about the room for when they are doing the cleaning the morning of my arrival. Upon arriving at the hotel and checking in the room, I discovered that two of the four pillows on the bed were duck feathers, which wasn’t supposed to be there. As there were two of us in the room, we walked down to the front desk and reported the issue and sure it was resolved quickly, but again it shouldn’t have happened.

So, the frustrating part of the pillow experience was the answer that we received from one of the staff at the front desk, his comment was “We were fully booked the night before, so the staff was busy, so it was missed”. A fully booked hotel should have meant that the pillows would have been addressed because someone would have had to clean the room the morning/early afternoon of our arrival. Also, there is a minimum 4-hour time between last check out and first check in, so if there have the right number of housekeeping people on staff, getting everything done would have been no problem.

Now I thought that was going to be the only issue at the hotel, but it continued with some lights in the room not working. So, one lamp was actually unplugged and couldn’t be plugged in because the plug was all bend. Two other lights one over the desk and one that lite an area of the room were also not working so that meant another report to the front desk of the issues. Maintenance did come and fix all three of these issues, but again another excuse was given “Oh, these two lights probably have a loose connection”. If there are loose connections that need fixing, say thanks for letting us know, and I will get it fixed.

how can I reach the pots and pans?
Hotels make their money ensuring that the guests are enjoying their stay and not having to deal with all of these issues. The other thing that made me laugh was where the pots and pans are, as this room has a small kitchenette included. The fridge is a normal size fridge, and the pots and pans are in a cupboard above that. Now is someone suppose to get these things out easier without having to stand on a chair. Thank goodness there is a stool in the room with a hard top on that can be used to get the items out of the cupboard if needed.

The hotel seems nice and clean which is one main thing and the staff in general are friendly, so now to see what the rest of the stay is like. I hope it is going to be better than this part, otherwise I am not going to be very happy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

IT Security Conferences

Going to various IT conferences you get to hear a lot of different talks and also get to meet a lot of different people which is nice. Recently we were at an IT Security Conference in Toronto and had a chance to help out at a booth for the two days of the event.

Now, working at a booth can be challenging because you can be extremely busy one minute and have no one around the next minute. This year it seemed so different because we were extremely busy on Tuesday, which is the first day of the show, but we were also busy on the second day, which was nice. Sure, we had sometimes where there weren’t a lot of people walking by, but I have to admit that it was great to see the number of people that stopped and chatted with us.

The booth was manned by four of us and yes, I was the female at the table, but that didn’t bother me at all. We were talking about a Security community called TASK (Toronto Area Security Klatch) and it was a great couple of days doing just that. Trying to show people that there is a strong community within the IT Security industry is always a lot of fun.

The four of us also get along extremely well, so it means that we work well together, and of course there is a schedule so that everyone knows where everyone else is. We also have the ability to text each other, so that makes it great so that if you are away from the booth and are needed, it is a quick message to find each other. This year what was nice was the number of times that there were three of us at the booth instead of one or two, and I have to admit that there were times that we really needed everyone to talk with the various people that came over to the booth.

During our time at the booth, a number of people asked us about the community and actually figured we worked for TASK instead of being community members. I am thinking that we need to figure out a way to show that we are community members that are at the event to explain what the community is all about. I know some people understood we were community members, but there were still a lot of people that figured it was a company that offered the community, not just a group of companies that sponsored a community.

IT Security conferences can be interesting to attend, and who you meet is also a lot of fun. You can be meeting with someone from a big business or someone that is just learning about IT Security and attending to gain an understanding. The IT Security community is a great community as most of the people are extremely friendly.

Monday, September 17, 2018

ARC from right to left

Original right handed version of my ARC
Right-handed version of the tabs

I have two to-do lists and one is rather large, and I actually call it the brain dump.  The reason for that is because there are so many little things that I would like to do that I have been trying to keep everything in my head, and that just doesn't work.  The other to-do list is smaller and something that I have with me all the time.

My main to-do list is now in a large ARC system, and I love it, or at least now I really love it.  I have been using the system for over a year now and this large binder was set up earlier this year when I figured it was time to capture everything on paper and actually get it out of my head, and it has been working.  I am now able to focus a lot better on tasks, and I am getting things done, and I don't feel as stressed as I was before.

About a week ago, I discovered that I was getting extremely frustrated when trying to write in my ARC system, and it was for a very simple reason.  The rings were getting in my way, and it was making it difficult to get my thoughts and ideas down quickly.  Now, the reason the rings were getting in my way is that I am a lefty and was writing on the right-hand page.  This is a problem that a lot of lefty's deal with, but with the ARC system there is an easy solution once you think of it.  I am not taking credit for figuring out my issue because it was my husband that suggested making my ARC a lefty version when I was sitting and complaining that it was difficult to write in the book.

Now the process I had to do did take some time, but I am happy with the outcome because now I have a book that works for me and yes confuses a lot of people.  One of the advantages of being a lefty and being proud of it is showing off the end result and getting the odd looks from people when they see that my book opens the opposite way than their book does.

Punching the new holes
So the steps that I had to do were pretty easy, but they meant taking the entire book apart and putting it all back together with some changes.

Step 1: Take all the pages and dividers out of the system.

Step 2: Punch new holes in the opposite side of each of the pages so that the pages would work easily for me, and then I could write on the left page all the time. In my planner, I only write on one side of a page so that I can see the tasks a little easier.

Cutting off the old holes
Step 3: Cut the original holes off all the pages so they wouldn't get caught on each other and make it difficult to work with the planner.

Step 4: Move all the tabs that I had set up around so that I could see them easily when I opened the book.  I am really glad that I used a version of post-it tabs because it made this task very easy.

Step 5: Start putting all the pages and dividers back into the system, making sure that it was going to work and actually be in the correct order like it was before.  This is where all the time was spent because sure you can easily take a book apart and punch holes in the paper, but it is getting it back in order that takes the time.

Finished ARC - lefty version
Yes, I have to admit that the version from the right-handed version of the ARC to the left-handed version of the ARC did take some time.  I am extremely happy with the outcome of this project and have to say that it works well. 

After doing this big version of my ARC to-do, I then decided it was time to also change the little version of my ARC to-do into a left-handed version.  Now that version went a lot quicker, and it is probably because I had figured out most of the issues with the bigger version.

Finished ARC - tabs have been moved
Sure, I have discovered a few little issues with the left-handed version and the biggest thing was that my calendar doesn't work well in my lefty version, so that is something that I will have to figure out for next year.

Now if you know someone who is a lefty and gets frustrated with planners and even notebooks like I have for years maybe you should let them know about the ARC (M by Staples) as it is something that can be customized to work for a lefty.  The ARC system is also available at Michaels as a Happy Planner, but the ARC system is either a half page or a whole page system while the Happy Planner is a size in between, so it is a little harder to make your own pages for it. 

I have invested in a number of the rings for my ARC system as well as covers because it means that I can set up a lot of different books for the various projects, and they will work for me and if a right-handed person has a problem with my book that's ok because it is for me to work with and not for them.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


So many people when I mention ETSY look at me funny and the first question they ask is “What is ETSY?” Well, ETSY is a site where crafters are able to list and sell their craft items to a wide audience. It is something that can be a bit of a challenge sometimes but if you understand and do a bit of homework before even setting up your shop you could have success on this platform. I have an ETSY shop and it has been just under a year now that we have had it and with some work it has started to get sales.

Things that I have learned from having an ETSY shop:
  1. Do not list all your items are once because that doesn’t help you be seen when you are first starting out. Sure, you want to have lots of items in your shop when you start but remember that each day you list an item is another day that you can be seen listed with a new item. Also, when you list all your items are once, all the renewals will happen at the same time as well. The renewals happen at the same time if you don’t have sales, so remember that. A renewal moves each time it is sold, so that does help.
  2. When you are listing items and if you have more than one of the specific item,, add the quantity to the listing so that you don’t have to remember to relist the item after each sale. This will help in the management of the site.
  3. Understand that there are fees when you list an item (not very much at all currently only $.20 per item) If you add the quantity, it doesn’t impact the fee for the listing as it will only be charged after one item is sold, and the new listing is automatically done for you. There are also transaction fees on the sale of an item, so remember that as well. ETSY takes a % of the sales price, so also consider that when you are pricing your items.
  4. Shipping to other countries. Here is one thing that you have to think about before you even start to think about shipping costs. When you get up your shop, will you be shipping your items to other countries and what could the cost be. For me, I decided to ship to Canada and the United States only, and that was a decision that I made even before thinking about shipping costs or any of that.
  5. Shipping costs, now this is something that you can handle two different ways. You can include the shipping cost in the price of the item, or you can charge shipping costs separately. I add shipping costs separately to the items and have one price for the first item and then a reduced price when you add items to your order.
  6. Consider if you are willing to do custom orders. Custom orders can vary, and it is something that you have to think about. Custom orders can be maybe a different size compared to what you make, or even a different colour. For me, I have added custom order to some of the items where I have fabric remaining after I have made the first lot of items.
  7. Shipping items out. The other thing you need to figure out is how you are going to handle the shipping the items out once an item is sold. A lot of people have either 3-5 business days or 1-3 business days depending on how often they want to go to the post office to mail the items. Remember, you are going to need to package up each of the items when they are sold and get them ready to be shipped. The packaging does cost, so remember to add that into your pricing of either shipping or the cost of the item.
  8. Have fun. For a lot of people, ETSY is a little side business that can be a lot of fun and something that you do when time allows. ETSY can also be a full-time business, and it is another decision that you need to think about and figure out. The items that you are selling in your shop can you continue to make them or versions of them or are then one off and once they are gone, they are gone. Look at the amount of time you are willing to put into your shop because that will also impact how it goes.

ETSY can be a lot of fun if you handle it correctly. Knowing the answers to a lot of the questions before you start setting up your shop will help a lot. I know that I did some research and asked questions before reopening my ETSY shop, and I am now glad I reopened it. The first ETSY shop I had didn’t work, and I learned some lessons from it, and it helped the newly reopened shop.

Remember there are quite a few people that have ETSY shops that are doing it for the fun of it and if you have questions don’t be afraid to ask someone your questions. I know that I am always willing to assist someone who would like to open an ETSY shop because I have learned from having one and if I can help someone else that would be great as well. My ETSY shop is DLKsCrafts, and I am enjoying it and will continue to have the shop as long as I have fun with it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Audio-books, Podcasts and YouTube

Now these are all different ways of listening and watching things and sure they have been around for years some of them but until the last year I really wasn’t into any of them, but now I have figured out what works best for me and have started to love all of them in different ways. Each of them meets a different need for me, and that is what I am going to try and explain here.


Now, until the beginning of this year I had heard people talk about audiobooks, but I had never really given them a try. I think before this I may have listened to one book, but other than that I didn’t think it would be something that I would enjoy. Yes, I like reading books, but as I am also a crafter and use my hands for the various crafts I have let the reading of books sort of drop off because my evenings are normally spent crafting. I did read a lot during commutes to and from work, but now that I am a co-owner of a business and most of the work is done remotely, there aren’t a lot of commutes.

Earlier this year, I decided to try audiobooks as a means of getting through some of the books that I wanted to read. I went to the library to renew my library card and while there looked at some of the cd audiobooks and immediately saw titles that were of interest to me. Seeing that there are a lot of titles that sounded interesting made me want to really give this idea a try, and that is when it started. After renewing my library card, I came home and decided to see what audiobooks were available through the library but online, and it opened up something that I have to admit that I have really enjoyed.

For me, audiobooks are something that I can listen to while crafting or even just when I am getting ready for bed. It has helped me get through some of the books that I have wanted to read, and now I have a wish list on the library website as well as another list on a piece of paper of the books that I want to listen to. Sure, I may encounter some wait lists for some of the books but that doesn’t bother me as I have a lot of other things to listen to now.


Podcasts aren’t as new to me as audiobooks, but they were normally something that my husband and I listened to on a long drive as a means of making the trip feel a little shorter. We started with one series of podcasts, and we are still working through that series as they are now recording their 13th season and there are now around 52 episodes a year for them. Most of this series recording are only around 15 – 20 minutes, so that isn’t bad, but other podcasts can be a lot longer than that.

This year I decided to find out about some of the other people that I had heard that did podcasts, and now I have a rather long list of podcasts that I want to listen to as well. My first really good exposure to podcasts was earlier this year when I needed to do a commute that was going to take me almost 2 hours to complete. I downloaded some of the podcasts that I wanted to listen to onto my phone and off I went. The actual commute sure didn’t feel as long as it really was, and I was able to get through a few of the podcasts that I had downloaded.

I now have 5 different podcasts that I follow, so that means that I have lots of listening to do, but again these are things that I can listen to while crafting or before going to bed in the evenings. I am enjoying the experience and am happy that I now can download them onto my phone and have them with me all the time.


YouTube can be a major distraction if you let it, but then if you are able to just watch what you subscribe to, it doesn’t feel so bad. I have tried to develop a discipline where I go into YouTube and check my subscriptions. Sure, it can still mean that I have a lot of videos to watch, but I can manage those putting them into my watch later library and I watch the various videos when I have the time. Sure, the watch later library can get rather large sometimes, but again these are videos that I can normally watch when I am crafting.

I have been watching YouTube videos for the last year, and basically the ones that I have been watching are a group of videos with the title FlossTube. These are videos done by cross-stitchers and individuals that may even have a store, but they are ones that I enjoy watching, and I have tried to keep my subscription list short so that I don’t feel overwhelmed when all the different people post all at one. The individuals post at different times, so I have some that post most days, some weekly, some monthly and then there are some that don’t post very often but at least by subscribing to them, I can see when they post a new video.

The different medias have given me a different experience, and I am loving all three of them. Audiobooks are great when you know you are going to have the time to listen to something that could take between 10 and 25 hours in three weeks, as that is how long some books are. Podcasts can vary in length between 15 minutes and 1.5 hours, but at least these are things that I can manage based on the time that I have available. YouTube is something that I watch either on my computer or tablet, and which video I watch will depend on the time that I have available as well as the mood I am in.

Knowing what works for you can open up a lot of different things and for me just having these different tools available means that I can’t say that I have nothing to watch or listen to because each of them gives me enough to keep me happy. If you haven’t tried these, give at least one of them a shot and see what you think. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy at least one of these methods, especially if you do something with your hands that doesn’t require a lot of thinking. A lot of crafters have found all of these work for them, and I am one of those crafters who now enjoys listening to things while I craft.

Monday, July 16, 2018


It is always interesting when you are getting ready to go to a convention because if it is work related you have one set of progress that you go through and then if it a personal one you go through different things. The conventions can be a one-day event or a week-long event but making sure that you are ready for them is always a good idea.

Professional Conventions

When you go to a profession convention/conference, you prepare in a way that will make sure that you have all the profession stuff with you. What I am talking about is making sure that you have the business cards ready to go, your work shirt (if you have one) is ready for the event and all other work-related material is available that you may need.

Personal Conventions

Now, these are the conventions/conferences that can be a lot of fun, but the preparation can be just about as much work getting ready for these. There are a few conferences that we go to for personal and the main one is a science fiction literary convention. Now before going to this event, there is the time figuring out what to wear each day and then there is figuring out all the other planning.

Both conventions

Besides figuring out what to wear at the events, there is the review of the schedule for the event. This happens for both of the conferences because you want to make sure that you get the most out of the conference, and you don’t end up wasting time figuring things out once you get there. More and more conferences are releasing the sessions before the actual event so that attendees are able to plan their days a little better. This also means that people aren’t walking into the sessions late as often because now they can prepare a little more.

There are other events that are normally part of any conference/convention, and these are the evening's events. Knowing the timing of these events are very important as well to ensure that you can attend the ones you want but also ensure that you can get some sleep. I know that there are times that sleep because something that is a bit lacking at the event, so you just need to be prepared for that.

Conventions can be wonderful to attend and something that if you are prepared for, you can have a great time. I go to both professional and personal conventions and have to admit that by the time they are over I am happy to see the end of them, as being an introvert, they can be tiring. I always make sure that I plan little bits of hiding time for myself during the event, and that helps me get through everything that I want to do.

The thing to do before going to a convention goes into it prepared to have some fun and learn something new. Also, understand that there might be some issues, but any convention can have issues, and it is how the attendees and organizers handle them that makes the conference a memorable experience.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Heat Waves

For a lot of us, we think of a heat wave as a couple of days of extreme heat. Extreme heat will also vary depending on your location. In the southern United States, extreme heat is over 100F (38C). In places in Canada, our extreme heat is anything over 86F (30C).

As I write this blog, we are on day 7 of extreme heat. We have had days reaching 34C (93F) and we also have a humidex, so our temperatures with the humidity have been reaching 42C to 46C. Today the forecast high is 31C (88F) feeling more like 40C (104F). A lot of people have been having issues because not everyone has air conditioning because we normally don’t stay this hot for this long.

In Toronto, we are fortunate as the city extends the hours of some of the outdoor public pools and there are cooling locations around the city. For those of us without air conditioning, it means lots of fans running, as well as finding cool places to go during the day. For people in smaller towns, it is harder to find the cool places.

The forecast is finally for us to have two or three cooler days, and everyone is happy to hear that. Sure, there will always be people that want the heat to stay, but when even walking short distances is being advised against it is too hot. There are people that still have to work outside in this heat, and I feel sorry for them.

I know in about six or seven months we are going to be complaining about the cold weather. I don’t mind temperatures around 28C feeling like 32C, but once it is hotter than that I don’t like it. For me, one of my favourite spots, when it is hot out, is sitting on our balcony. I can sit on the balcony and do some of my work and stay cool as we face north-east. We don’t get the hot afternoon sun directly on the balcony, so it is a nice place to escape.

Heat waves seem to be happening more often and lasting longer. Maybe global warming has something to do with it. I know I am looking forward to getting a bit of a break from this heat. If you are dealing with a heat wave, try and stay cool and know it won’t last forever.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Living with invisible disabilities

So many people have disabilities that no one else knows about, and that is something that can be very frustrating. When you are around other people, take a look around and notice what you see, and you will probably not notice the disabilities that people have. I know that some disabilities are easy to see and those are the ones that most people understand, and they are talked about.

An invisible disability can be something that occurred to an individual, or it is something that they have dealt with all of their lives. Some examples of invisible disabilities are:
  • brain injuries,
  • chronic pain
  • arthritis
  • mental illness
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • migraines
  • fibromyalgia
  • and there are many more

For a lot of people, these are issues that cannot be seen by others and therefore something that cannot be dealt with easily. I was recently talking to someone about being able to hold a handrailing on some stairs and the comment was “everyone can do that” my reply was “not everyone can do that all the time, and I am one of those individuals”. Sure, I look like I have normal hand strength, but that is something that I no longer have. I have issues with both of my wrists like a lot of other people do and I no longer have the strength some days to do the simple things that a lot of people take for granted. After a very long conversation with this individual, they finally understood that I can’t always do what you say everyone can do.

When I mention some of the simple things that I cannot do all the time it shows that I may look like everyone else, but there are times that I cannot function like everyone else and here are some examples:
  • Opening a bottle of water or pop – now this is something that I admit can vary from day to day and that is what makes it hard. Sure, there are days when I can get that bottle opened without any issues, and then there are the days that trying to twist that top off can be a challenge.
  • Picking up a glass – this sounds simple enough, but again there are days when I have to be extremely careful how I pick it up because my hands just don’t work the way that they normally do.
  • Lifting up something – there are days when I can lift my laptop without any issues, and then there are the days that it feels like I am lifting a ton of weight. It is nice that I don’t have to move my computer around very often as it means that the lifting of it is limited, and then I do need to carry a laptop with me, I normally have a smaller and lighter one that I can use.
  • Typing on the computer – there are days when the simple task of sitting and working on the computer can be a challenge because the fingers just don’t want to work. This can be extremely frustrating when you are trying to get something done, especially when there is a deadline, and you can’t get the words down you need to get down. Most days I can type without any issues, but on the days that I have problems, I just simply true on the speech recognition problem on the computer and let it do the typing for me.

Now before anyone says that I must have done something to cause this problem, it isn’t true. I am an individual that has very small wrists, so the tunnels that the nerves go through are extremely small. I have been told by various doctors that sure maybe some of the problems is due to what I like doing, but the biggest issue isn’t the repetitive action, it is just how my wrists are. When I am doing things that require some lifting, I wear braces to ensure that I don’t cause more damage to the wrists, but again it is just an aid for me.

I am writing this as it is something that I have had to deal with for quite a number of years. Yes, I look like there is nothing wrong with me and I can do the jobs like everyone else, but there are days when the simple tasks don’t seem to be so simple for me. I am just one person that has this issue, but I also know that I am not alone with this issue. Of course, it is invisible, so it isn’t something that people see so not something that is easy to talk about. When someone says everyone can do a specific task and I know that there are days that I can't, I make sure that I start the conversation to ensure that they understand that making that statement isn’t true and until you know everyone’s issue or situation, you cannot use the blanket statements.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

IT conferences

There are a bunch of things that are great about some of the different IT conferences, and then there are the challenges that you have to deal with when you attend them. The networking at the various conferences can be great, and it also means that you have to be willing to spend some of your time just talking to people and not going to all the different sessions.

The various sessions can be very educational and some of them may not meet your expectations and that is something that you need to understand when you are attending the various events. At one conference we were recently at the person that was doing the presentation started to talk, and then other people started to come in after the session started, she stopped and wanted them to get seated. There are times that once a session has started, the person should just keep talking and not stop just because someone else walked into the room. This same person got upset when people left the session early and had to make a point of mentioning that people were leaving early. It was a conference with a bunch of IT people and there are times when you have to talk a call or emails need to be answered, so leaving a session is something that you have to do.

The networking at the IT conferences can be something that can be very helpful to a career and it is also something that you have to understand and manage. For someone that knows a lot of people that attend these events, it means that there are times that we just don’t have the chance to talk with everyone all the time. It can be a challenge to make sure that you have talked to everyone that you want to talk to and also not miss some of the things that you want to see and do.

How this is something that can be very frustrating because there are some people that only attend the events to get the free stuff. There are so many things that the vendors are handing out that I look at and can’t figure out what I would do with them, but some people seem to really like them. Some of the items are the little giveaway such as balls that light up and then the little men that wave their arms after you wind them up. Some of these are get for people that have kids, but they can get a little much when you see them at every event and the only difference is the vendor that is handing them out.

There are a lot of benefits from attending the different IT conferences and some of them are being visible and some of them are getting your own company name out there. You will never know that can happen by attending these events. You may get some business out of attending these conferences, or you may not, but at least making sure that you are seen can help a lot. Participating in the various sessions can also show you are comfortable talking to others, so that is something else that you have to think about. Asking questions and getting into the various discussions will help you be remembered not just by the vendors, but also by some of the other attendees.

IT conferences can be a lot of fun, and they can also be tiring, and how you handle them will make a big difference. Remember that going to an IT conference isn’t a day off work because you are still working as you are doing the promoting of your business and of yourself.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Desks out in the open

It can be such a distraction when there are desks out in the open. One of such desks is actually sitting in the customer area of a dealership. The desk I think is where you can talk to a staff member about trading in your vehicle, but I am really not sure. I think the desk is really just a spot where the staff come and hangs out and make lots of noise.

I understand that part of the dealership isn’t large enough, but then there are the times when you see that maybe if they can put this desk closer to the cars instead of in the waiting area from the service department it might be better. Where it is, it seems that the staff thinks it is a great spot to just hang out and laugh and all of that. I understand that they need to have a person to talk to about trade-ins but considering all the noise that they made it doesn’t sound like it is a great place to talk about trade-ins. We were in one time, and they were talking to a person about doing a trade in, and we could hear all the conversation, so things that should have been private were not private because we knew everything about the vehicle that was being traded in as well as how much the payments would be and everything else.

If a dealership wants to have an area where they can discuss trade-ins, it should be able to be enclosed or at least in an area that isn’t right in the middle of where customers sit while waiting for their vehicle to be serviced. I am thinking that just moving this area to a different location would be better for the business. Seeing where the desk makes it a location that I wouldn’t want to discuss any business because right beside a four-foot wall is a table where customers are sitting waiting for their vehicle to be serviced.

The desk also makes it difficult to sit and enjoy the time while waiting for service because the noise is something that is a lot louder than even a bunch of customers sitting and having conversations. Staff need to understand what it looks like when they are back and forth to this desk, and it is basically just having personal conversations and not business. The move times someone comes back to this location, the more it shows that they aren’t busy enough, and that doesn’t help.

A trade-in desk at a dealership should be in a location where business can be discussed and not in the middle of customers. We have mentioned the situation to the staff, and they understand the frustration, but there isn’t anything that can currently be done to deal with the situation. I think the biggest thing that they need to do is make sure that the conversations are kept at a lower volume, and that might help.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A couple of scams to be aware of

New scam to me: Received a call this morning from "Visa" asking if I authorized a purchase at 4 am this morning to eBay. Of course, I immediately asked which card and the person on the other end said the one starting with "45" which is the standard visa starting numbers. I then asked what the last four digits were on the card, and the person hung up.
In a lot of ways, I was having some fun because the last name they asked for isn't the last name on my credit cards and I would have thought the bank would be calling, not VISA. They were probably hoping that I would say no I didn't authorize the transaction, and then I would give them my credit card number so that they could "reverse" the transaction. If a company is calling me and telling them there is a problem, they already have all the information that they need other than me saying yes or no if I authorized the transaction. Scams are getting very interesting, and you have to always be so careful when you get these calls. Never give out any information to callers if they should have the information and in a lot of ways even if you think it might be a real call say you will call back with the information and call the real company, not the number the caller provides.

Revenue Canada scam: You receive a text message showing that your refund is ready, and you just need to click on a link to download your refund. Well, Revenue Canada doesn’t send text messages with your refund attached. Revenue Canada doesn’t call you to tell you that the police are on the way to your home to arrest you because you did something wrong. These are just a couple of the Revenue Canada scams that I have seen happening in the last little while.

Service Canada scam: there is another scam where you get a text from Service Canada letting you know that to deposit the funds you need to go to this link. Why would the link have as part of the link if it was really from Service Canada?

There are so many scams going on now that you have to be so careful to protect yourself. I know that there are going to be individuals that give out credit card or personal information over the phone, but my biggest caution is only given the information to someone if you have made the call yourself, and you know that you have checked the number you are calling and not calling a number someone provided you when they called you.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Saturday morning

For a lot of us here in Canada, we woke up on Saturday morning to hear some news which was upsetting. There had been an accident between a junior “a” hockey team bus and a transport truck in rural Saskatchewan. The worst news was that 14 people had been killed, and all of those were passengers on the bus. Yes, the hockey team on its way to a Junior “A” playoff game had been killed, and the other 15 people had been taken to the hospital with various injuries. Humboldt, Saskatchewan has lost lots of people and the town, province and even the country has been impacted by this tragic accident.

The number of killed on Saturday changed to 15 people killed and that included 9 players between 16 and 21 years of age and 6 other people on the bus including the team’s head coach. It is something to think about all these families that have lost someone that was part of their family. What some people didn’t realize that was a number of the players from the team were not from Humboldt but from other towns and cities from Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia along with other towns in Saskatchewan. So yes, a number of families lost their sons, but there are the billet families that have also lost part of their families as well.

The media has been very respectful given the situation this time and that is good because it is hard to figure out what happened and all those details. It has been something to listen to some of the NHL players and coaches talk about the different bus trips that they took as junior players, and some of these same people knew either the players/coaches or family members of the team. The impact of this accident impacts the country as a whole, as hockey is so much part of what kids grow up playing here in Canada.

It is hard to accept that one accident during the day can have such a large impact on a country, but I have to admit that this accident did. Hockey is part of Canada and when something like this happens the entire country feels it. I know that I have never played hockey, and I am not a parent, but I am feeling the hurt knowing that there are lots of families now dealing with a loss. There are also lots of families trying to help their injured family member deal with their own injuries as well as the lost of their teammates, who in so many ways are their extended family.

Hockey is so much part of Canada and next time you see a team bus on a highway or anywhere remember there are hundreds of those buses that travel the roads each week and sometimes things happen, and the hurt will start all over again.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

My blog - thoughts and moving forward

I have had this blog for almost 7 years now, and I love being able to hide and do some of my writing here because it gives me a way to express things the way I see them.

What I decided to try and do is to go back through the blog entries to see what I can combine and make into either different blog posts or even small e-books, as I have several articles based on similar topics. I haven’t really started this process yet, but as I am sitting and just looking at the number of posts, I am realizing that I have done quite a bit of writing over the last 7 years on this blog. I have lots of different ideas and findings written through this blog that I decided to try and see if combining some of the actual entries would either give me some new ideas or help me expand on some of the ideas that I have been writing about. The review of the blog may also show me some of the similar entries that I have done in the past. They are going to remain on the blog because they have been posted, but may help me figure out a better tracking method of the topics that I am written about.

I spend some time over the last little while collecting all the posts into one document, and have to admit that it was a big surprise when I finally looked at it as one document. Sure, there are going to be some revision of the blogs, but when you look at a 1.5” binder full of pages, you know that there are lots of pages. As I write this blog the book is currently sitting at 607 pages and line spacing of 1.5, and I am not sure if it will go down during the review or if it will increase, but at least I know that I have everything in one document saved in two different spots. No, I don’t want to lose this document after spending the time trying to collect all the blog entries.

The review is going to be a lot of fun, as I can see by just quickly looking at some of the titles that I will be looking at things and remembering either where I wrote the blog post or where the idea came from. I will slowly go through the book, and maybe I will learn about things as I go, and maybe new posts will be written as I start thinking of new ideas.

I love my blog, and it has given me the chance to write and express my views. Not everything has been happy with my blog, but then it is my blog and if someone doesn’t like reading my views that’s fine because there are lots of other blogs out there to be found.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Planner update

Earlier in March, I was talking about my planner and how things were working for me.  Yes, I am still working on getting more and more organized, and of course that has meant that I have made a few more changes to how I do things.

At the beginning of March, I realized that my to-do list wasn't working for me, and I was keeping too many things in my head.  The keeping everything in my head also meant that I wasn't getting things done when I wanted to, and I ended up bouncing around too much. After a bit of thinking and trying to find a time management system that worked for me, I ended up with developing my own planner, and it seems to be working pretty well.

The planner is once again using the ARC system from Staples which I love and what I do is I work with a new page each day and I list out the things that I want to do during that day. I started with the things that needed to get done on a day and dated the page.  It seemed to work, and then I set up a key that makes it easy for me to move things forward or mark as completed.

Through this process I have figured out things that I do every day and things that I do every week and things that are done only once in a while.  For the things that are done every day, I have a monthly checklist for those items so that I don't have to rewrite them each day.  It means that the little things that are done quickly get a check mark when they are done, and then it is onto the next thing on the list.  I have even developed a checklist for a couple of the other things that I work on, as some of these are nine different little steps that are done over various times.

What is nice with using the ARC system for this daily to-do list is what when the day is over, I can move the day to the back of the book, and I am ready for the next day.  Sure, it means that things are rewritten a few times when I don't get around to working on them, but it also means that I am seeing that I am getting things done. The key that I developed also helps me quickly figure out what the item is and what I really need to do.  When I have a bunch of things that need to email, it means that I can do them all together instead of messing up and forgetting to do the emails. Thoughts and notes are also put down, and then I am able to put them into the correct spot when I go back and review my list at the end of the day. Another great thing about the ARC system is when I am going out to events or meetings, I can quickly take the day or two worth of to-do's with me so that I know what is ahead of me.

I still have the longer term to-do list in my big ARC planner, but now I have all the little things that I want and need to do with me and I can see that things are getting done.  I normally have things written even for a couple of days ahead because then the day starts to get too full, I know it is time to start to move things to another day and then see how it goes.  

Sure, my planner has meant some work at the beginning and end of each day, but at least I am now starting to see that I am getting things done, and I am not having to try and remember everything.  I hope to be able to continue to improve on my planner method and maybe one day I will be back to only have one big planner and one little ARC book, but for now I have the two little ARC books and the big ARC book, and it works for me.

Monday, March 19, 2018

You, Me and a Crazy Schedule

As some of you may know, I run a small IT consulting business with my husband, and that can be a challenge sometimes. For us, it is sometimes a challenge to figure out what we are both working on and how our schedule actually works together. We decided a while ago that one way to try and keep our schedule known to the other was to start using Google Calendar for a lot of the things that we do. One of the key steps that we did for that was to set up a Gmail account for the business, and that is where we manage a lot of our schedule.

Yes, managing two schedules for work as well as personal life can be a challenge, but we decided that we would be putting all the different things onto one calendar so that the two of us can see what is going on. Sure, the calendar can look a little busy sometimes, but at least we both know that is going on, and that does help a lot. It also means that if there is a conference coming up or even bills that need to be paid, they are entered into the calendar. The important thing to remember is to turn off the reminders on events that are just notes and not something that is time specific.

The calendar has given the two of us a better understanding of the overall schedule that we are dealing with, and it helps a lot. I know that there are times when I look at the calendar can start laughing because it just seems like there are weeks when there are so many things on it and then another week it is pretty quiet. The quiet weeks may look quite, but those are normally weeks when bigger things are happening, and we are doing other tasks that need to be done.

Our calendar is synced to both of our phones so that we have it with us when we aren’t home because that also helped let the other one know, what is going on. We found that making sure that even the little things are noted means that it is easier to schedule client meetings when we know what else is going on in our lives. The one thing that needed to be on the calendar was all the holidays because without those you could be scheduling a weekend of work when it’s a holiday weekend and people really don’t want to work that weekend. Besides having the calendar on our phones, I also have a paper copy of it because it means that if I can on the phone with someone I can quickly see what is going on without having to try and check my calendar which is also on the device I am using for the conversation.

One day I was looking at our calendar and someone asked me how many kids we had because we were so busy. I explained that we didn’t have any kids but when you are managing two work lives, two personal lives and things we do together the calendar can look a little crazy depending on when you see it. Yes, some people may laugh at our calendar, but it works for us and that is what is important. We have found a method of keeping track of the different things in our lives, and it works for us. It may not work for everyone, but that is fine because every is different.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Social Media

There are so many ways to connect with people now through Social Media that it can get a little overwhelming if you try to do everything. I know that I have had to make decisions as to where I want to be and where it isn’t going to be part of my life right now, as I just don’t have the time or energy to be everywhere.

For me, I have decided that I will be on three different social media sites, and I am going to try and limit it to that. I am on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and I think that can be busy enough if you try and keep up with everything. LinkedIn is the one that I find the easiest to manage because there are the social posting most of the time. Sure, there are the posts about different articles and such, but that is it, so that is easy to handle.

Facebook is something else and that can be a job in itself, and I don’t keep up with everyone on it as I would have to be watching the screen all the time to do that. Facebook is a great way to connect with people, especially friends and relatives, but everyone has to understand that not everyone is on it all the time and not everyone posts everything about their life on it. Facebook for me is something that I use a bit, and I am one of those that doesn’t post everything on it. I have had people complain that they don’t see what we are doing, and part of that is because I don’t want my entire life out for the friends and family to see. Yes, I will post the occasional update about things, but again they are few and far between. I do post in some of the groups that I belong to, but again I don’t post often as it would just take too much of my time to do that. I will sometimes like a post, but again with the amount of stuff that groups can post on a daily basis it can be a challenge to see everything and I just don’t try and do that.

Twitter, now here is one social media platform that can be like a garden hose and trying to keep up with everything that is posted can nearly impossible. On the weekends it doesn’t seem to be quite as bad as during the week, but again it can be a challenge to keep up with just all the posts that come in. I am following 198 different accounts and have 24 follows, so you can see that I am not out there a lot. Sure, it can help you keep updated with what is going on, but you can miss a lot of things as well and that is something that you have to accept when you are part of Twitter or most of the social media platforms.

Recently, I was talking to someone about a group on Facebook that I belong to, and she said that I never post in the group or even comment on other posts. I was a little surprised when she said that because I have posted and commented in the group, so didn’t know what she was talking about. After a few seconds I did let her know that I do post in the group and I like various posts, but considering how many posts there are in the group it is difficult to see everything someone comments on or likes. The other thing that made me laugh is I am not friends on Facebook with this person, so I can like tons of posts, but she isn’t going to be my name as someone that has liked a post.

Yes, I know that I quite often have Facebook and Twitter open on my computer during a business day, and part of that is because I keep an eye on a Facebook and Twitter account which is for work. I want to ensure that people are not posting things that should be posted on those sites. Sure it looks like I spend hours on these two social media platforms, but honestly they may be open but most of the time when are hidden from view, and I am doing the other work that needs to be done, and I check into these sites from time to time to ensure that everything is still good.

I know that there are a lot of other Social Media platforms that I could belong to like Instagram and others, but it can be a challenge to keep up with what I am currently on, so I am not going to add more things to track right now. I understand that there are people that are on most if not all the different social media platforms, but I have no idea how they can keep up with everything and also work and do everything else they do. I know what makes me happy and that is what I am going to stick with and sure if you don’t see me comment or post on a group maybe you have just missed it and that is what social media is like.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Driving distances

How many times have you received a call from someone visiting from outside of North America thinking that they can get to see you quickly? I know that, just being able to realize that Canada is a lot bigger than a lot of the European countries. I have done a bit of a comparison to show the differences between Canada and some of the European countries.

  • Nuremberg Germany – Berlin Germany 449km
  • Nuremberg Germany – Munich Germany 226km
  • London England – Glasgow Scotland 663km
  • Plymonth England – Inverness Scotland 1,107km
  • Vancouver, British Columbia – Halifax Nova Scotia 6,610 km
  • Toronto, Ontario – Montreal, Quebec 541 km

Part of what can be interesting is when you have people visiting from Europe, and they think that everyone in a city or even a province should know everyone else. I have also heard that people in one city in Canada thinks it will only take an hour or two to drive between major cities. One comparison is someone wanting to go to Toronto for lunch when they are in Montreal for a business meeting. I know that this happened, and someone received a call from a business colleague visiting Montreal from Europe, and they were driving to Toronto to take the other individual out for lunch. The European individual didn’t realize that the drive between those two cities were more than a 5-hour drive, not the hour or two that they were normally doing in Europe.

Another thing that happens is some of the different European vendors don’t think about how long it takes to drive from city to city in Canada, and they send out the different events in cities that are hours away. We recently received an email about an event in Ottawa in April, while the same event is being hosted in Toronto in September. Why would I drive 4 hours to Ottawa for a one-day event when I can go to the same event here in Toronto without having the expense of travel time and also a hotel that would be required to be at the event at 8 am.

Yes, Canada is a very large country, and it takes days to drive from coast to coast and not just hours. It can be interesting to see the difference in times between getting between major cities depending on what country you are talking about. I enjoy comparing the differences between the different countries and seeing how long it takes to get from major city to major city. So next time you hear someone talk about why don’t we know everyone in our country, let them know that we are an extremely large country, and it would be difficult to know everyone either in our city, province or country.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Figuring out what works and what doesn't work

I think all of us can sit back sometimes and see that things that were working for you are just not working currently. It can be very simple in changing some of the process, or it might be something bigger than that.

added some bling
My planner has been getting a bit of an update for the last little while, and part of that is because I was finding that some things were working very well for me, and other parts just didn’t work the way that they were done. This has meant that there has been times that I have been frustrated when things were not the way I wanted them, and now I am trying another setup to see if that will work better for me. I am not sure how things will go, but I am going to try these changes.
adding some colour

One thing I did notice was that my planner wasn’t really me, so that was something that was pretty easy to fix and all it took was some washi tape and some stickers along with the dividers I was already using and some card stock for other dividers. It is amazing how adding some bling to the planner and some personal touches has made a difference to it. Having some glitter on some of the pages has helped me feel that the planner is more me because of this. I have also been able to add some dividers which some different stickers and that has also helped.

My planner is now two different planners, as I found I just had too much information that I wanted to have available. I have now set up my planner in ways that seem to be working well and that is stuff that I need when I am out and about and then the stuff that I need while working at home. I have my small ARC notebook with the stuff that I need when we are on the go, and then I have a full size ARC notebook that I keep more information in it, and that is the one that is used to track stuff at home and when I am working. Having two planners does mean that there are some things that I have double, but at least I feel better about things because I am not trying to carry everything with me all the time.

Figuring out what works and what doesn’t work does take some time, and it is just a matter of being able to sit back and take that little bit of time to figure it all out. I am still not sure if the two planners are set up the way I want them yet, and I know that if I find something isn’t working for me, I just have to figure out how to change it and see if the new way works better.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Regaining a focus

I think a lot of us deal with a time when we have to sit back and think about some of the things that we have on our to-do list. I know that is something that I try and do at least once a month to ensure that things are getting done that need to get done and that things that are no longer necessary can be removed from the list.

Another thing that needs to be done every once in a while, is to look at the different things that you have thought about doing and seeing if they are still things that you want to do. As someone that crafts, I find that there are times that I need to go through some of my craft projects and decide if they are going to be worked on or if it’s time to say no and either get rid of the project or put the material back into my stash so that I can use it for something else. It can be a little overwhelming sometimes to look at the projects and make these decisions, but you have to remember that realizing that you aren’t going to finish something does help. It gets one thing off the list of things that you are going to do, and then you have more time to do the things that you really want to do.

There are going to be times when you do the review of your things, and you just put everything back because they are all things you are going to work on at some point. Being able to figure out if you are going to work on something or not can take some time, so this needs to be done when you have a bit of time to focus on the task and not feel like you are rushing through it.

After you have done the cleaning up of either your to-do list or your projects, you will be able to sit back and see what is important and move forward on them. There is still the risk that things on your to-do list or your projects won’t get done, but at least you may have your list a little more under control, which is the main thing.

Regaining a focus is very important from time to time. It can help you get back to what is important and what needs to get done, rather than working on things that really aren’t important and can either wait for a while or don’t need to be done. Once your focus has been regained, it is time to get back to doing the things that you need to do and don’t worry about those things that you decided aren’t important any longer.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Escaping the normal routine

I think everyone needs a break and an escape from the normal routine. For some people, it can be as simple as changing up the routine for a day. For others, it might mean taking a vacation away from home.

An escape for me depends on a lot of things, and sometimes it can be as simple as finding a different place to write for a couple of hours. Some escapes can even be as simple as going to a hotel across the city from home for a couple of nights. Other escapes can be doing to Niagara Falls for a long weekend and being a tourist. Sure, Niagara Falls can be very busy in the summer, but off season it can be a wonderful place to enjoy yourself.

Any escape no matter what you do can make such a difference. It is a means of recharging your personal battery and forgetting about some of the pressures and stress of the normal routine. Being able to forget the things that you can’t do for a couple of days can make such a difference to have you handle things when you get back to your normal routine.

Being able to figure out what works as an escape for you can make such a difference. Knowing what is important to you and what you need in your escape can help a lot. For me, one of the things that I have to do is not over plan my escape. I need to know that the schedule I have for the escape is extremely flexible.

An escape no matter how long it is does come to an end, but at least it has been an escape from the normal routine. When you get back to your normal routine, things are still going to be there from before you left, but at least they may not seem as difficult or overwhelming.

Escaping the normal routine is very important to everyone. Your escape can be different each time, or it can be the same, but at least it is an escape, and that’s what is important.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


There are times that the media just seems to talk about a story or an accident just too much. I understand that the public needs to hear the details, so they are comfortable and feel safe again, but then it is the number of times that the same details are told.

With the media, the stories that are told over and over again are the murder and major accidents, but the nice feel good stories are quickly mentioned and then seem to be forgotten. It would be nice if we could get a better blend on the stories. There hare times when it seems that there is nothing good going on in the world but when you check online there is a lot of good happening, but it just doesn’t get the mention through the media. I have heard that the media feels that they need good stories to talk about, and I feel like a good story is something that isn’t happy, it is something bad.

Lately there has been some murders or homicides in the area that seem to be the main thing that has been talked about on the news. Besides that, there is now all the public figures that are being accused of sexual misconduct. These are the stores that we are hearing over and over again, and they seem to never end.

I understand that people need to know what is going on in their area and if there is a situation that may cause some harm to them, but it is the constant repeating of the same information day after day. If there was something new in one of the cases, then fine, talk about the new information, but please don’t show the same tapes that you have shown over the last few days. With the internet nowadays, if someone has missed something and wants to find out about it, they can easily look it up online and get the information that they have missed.

When the media starts repeating the story too many times, that is when I turn off the television and find something else to do that I enjoy. Sure, we need to hear what is going on in the world, but it would be nice to see some of the feeling good stories just a little more often.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Misplaced and expired stickers

Per Service Ontario – where to put your license plate sticker

While sitting in traffic, have you noticed the number of expired license plate stickers you, see? I have noticed that, so people don’t seem to notice or care that they are driving a vehicle where the sticker on the plates have expired. As a driver, it is your responsibility to ensure that your license plate is up-to-date. I don’t know how many times we have been sitting at a stop light and have noticed that the car ahead of us has an expired sticker.

The other thing you notice is that, at least in Ontario, your sticker for a personal vehicle is supposed to be in the upper right-hand corner of the plate. I think I have seen stickers in every area of the plate, which is a ticketable offence. It is amazing to see how often the renewal sticker is put in a different location on the license plate and people think that this is allowed. The renewal sticker has a spot on the license plate and that is where each sticker is to be placed.

When you are sitting in traffic, look at the different license plates around you, and you can see lots of problems with the various license plates.

Another thing to notice is the condition of the back license plate on vehicles. Some plates look like thy have been a really bad day, but the front plate is in mint condition. It really makes you wonder if people are tampering with their license plates, making them hard to read from behind. This is an issue when you are trying to report a vehicle for breaking the law, or even for some of the toll highways to read the license plates. One thing I have noticed is in some cases people have changed the front and back place because of the condition, but they have forgotten that the renewal sticker is on the plate that is now on the front of a car, which is again wrong. Commercial vehicles have their stickers on the front of the vehicle, but not regular passenger cars.

Yes, misplaced and expired stickers can make for an interesting trip when you are in a car because just looking at the different locations of the stickers and the different lengths of expired stickers can be interesting. Recently there was one person on Twitter ask why she got a ticket when she was parked. In her tweet she included a picture of her license plate, and I noticed that the sticker looked like it had a Sept 2017 renewal date, and the picture was taken in January 2018. I guess that is a good reason to get a ticket because the ticket was for not displaying a current license, she may have renewed the sticker but hadn’t put it on the vehicle.

When you renew your license plate sticker, remember to put it on as soon as you get it and also remember to put it in the correct location as explained right on the paper you get the sticker on.